In September 2017, Mexico was hit by two major earthquakes in less than 12 days. The quakes that occurred in southern and central Mexico caused massive loss of lives and left a trail of destruction in several states as well as in the capital, Mexico City or Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX).

Mexico has previously experienced earthquakes as it is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” that is on the North American and Pacific plates. It is therefore highly vulnerable to earth tremors as observed in the devastating magnitude 8.0 quake that hit the nation’s capital on 19 September 1985, killing more than 5,000 people. Coincidentally, the magnitude 7.1 tremor that jolted Mexico City in 2017 happened on the same day although the casualty figures were much lower with around 293 deaths so far. Separately, Mexico also witnessed another quake 12 days earlier in the coastal area of Chiapas state, leaving at least 98 fatalities. A region-wide tsunami warning was issued following the quake.

During both earthquakes, SAFEY continued to provide its users with updates so that they could take necessary precautionary measures to stay safe. In the aftermath of the quake that hit Chiapas on 7 September, the first alert was sent out approximately 16 minutes after it first struck at 11:49 (local time). It was categorized as a red event and all users in the affected area were notified via an SMS alert. Another update on the potential tsunami generated from the quake was sent to users in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras about 20 minutes after the first alert. Subsequently, updates containing relief and recovery efforts in the state were sent out as well as the aftershocks that followed.

For the event in central Mexico, the first red alert about the quake was sent 19 minutes after it first struck at 13:14 (local time). The first message contained the areas that were affected namely Puebla, Guerrero as well as Mexico states. About 30 minutes later, a yellow alert was also sent to inform users about the national emergency declared by local authorities and travel disruptions in the region such as airport closures and metro line suspension among others. Later two alerts notifying users about the ongoing rescue efforts by the authorities were updated on SAFEY.

The earthquakes in Mexico have enhanced the importance of early warning and staying informed whenever natural disasters occur. Further highlighting the core principle on which SAFEY was created, and that is to help save lives with early warning alerts and continuous relevant safety updates.  With this in mind, the team at SAFEY and the analysists behind SAFEY will continue to ensure that its users are kept informed so that they can have the right information at the right time.


Deadliest earthquakes in Mexico since 1970

August 1973:

The state of Veracruz was hit by M 7.0 earthquake, leaving at least 500-1,000 people dead

September 1985:

A major earthquake with an 8.1 magnitude hit Mexico City, killing at least 5,000 people

October 1995:

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake was reported in the coastal area of Jalisco state. The quake left at least 49 people dead, and it also triggered a tsunami